Historic Place Category 1
Pt Allot 8 Sec 15 Suburbs of Auckland (CT NA65/223), North Auckland Land District
Extent of Registration
Extent includes the land described as Pt Allot 8 Sec 15 Suburbs of Auckland (CT NA65/223), North Auckland Land District, and the building and structures known as St Paul’s Church (Anglican) thereon.
Auckland Council (Auckland City Council)
St Paul's, Symonds Street, is the third building occupied by the parish. It is known as the 'Mother Church' of Auckland as the first St Paul's was also the first church built in the city. The foundation stone was laid by Governor Hobson on 28 July 1841 and the first service was held on 7 May 1843. In 1884 a temporary wooden building was erected to the design of William Skinner, on the site of the first church. This site was still considered for the replacement, permanent church but in the end the more central location of the Symonds Street, Wynyard Street intersection was chosen. William Skinner's plans were accepted but it was decided to leave the church unfinished at a lower cost.
The foundation stone, from the first St Paul's, was relaid for the new church on 11 June 1894 and the building was consecrated the following year. The fine carving of the capitals and label stops was completed by William Feldon in 1910-11.
The foundation stone for the permanent chancel was laid on 11 April 1915 but the addition did not proceed until 1936. It was dedicated on 29 October that year. In 1945 the vestry briefly considered completing the church tower and spire as a war memorial.
The church features some interesting internal decoration and fittings including Bishop Selwyn's throne, communion patten and chalice presented to him by Queen Victoria. Set into the walls in the south west corner are carved stones from Westminster Abbey, Canterbury Cathedral, Yorkminster and St Paul's Cathedral.
As the church of Auckland city's oldest parish St Paul's is of considerable historic importance. With its central location and historic connections with the first St Paul's and the developing city this church and its predecessors have been a prominent feature of Auckland life since 1841. The present, curious, unfinished structure has in its own right been a prominent landmark in Auckland for nearly 100 years.
Although it has never been completed St Paul's is nevertheless a particularly fine example of Gothic Revival architecture. The architects handling of the proportions and detailing was both skilful and elegant. St Paul's invites comparison with Sir Gilbert Scott's only New Zealand work, Christchurch Cathedral, c.1863. St Paul's makes a valuable contribution to the townscape in this area of Auckland.
Now unencumbered by surrounding contemporary buildings, St Paul's, with the polychromatic treatment of its stonework, visually dominates the Symonds Street, Wellesley Street intersection.
Bishop Selwyn's throne, communion patten and chalice
The stones from English cathedrals
The foundation stone of the original church
The building is predominantly in the Early English Gothic style characteristic of the late Victorian period of the revival. The church is reminiscent of the work of the famous Gothic Revival architect Sir Gilbert Scott (senior). The plan is simple with side aisles and the nave leading to the sanctuary.
The exterior is notable for the well proportioned west elevation, with gabled porches, rose window and pinnacled buttresses. These elements are highlighted by the use of white limestone. The side elevations incorporate lancet windows above square headed windows.
Internally there are hammer beam roof trusses with alternating diagonally boarded panels. The aisle wall dadoes are random basalt. The painted brickwork above the dados feature the fourteen stations of the cross. The main walls are supported on stone arches and columns, having foliated capitals.
The church has never been completed and still lacks a tower in the north western corner and its south transept.
- Original Construction: 1895 (circa)
- Modification: 1915 (circa)
- Addition: 1919 (circa)
- Modification: 1936 (circa)
- Other: 1961 (circa)
- Modification: 1965 (circa)
- Modification: 1967 (circa)
- Other: 1970 (circa)
- Demolished - Other: 1971 (circa)
- Modification: 1974 (circa)
- Modification: 1975 (circa)
- Modification: 1977
- Modification: 1983
Auckland basalt; Oamaru limestone dressings; walls, buttressed; roof, hammerbeam trusses; tiled roof originally Welsh slate. 1936 addition, reinforced concrete and brickwork, plastered internally (painted) and externally (unpainted). Pressed metal roofing tiles.
- K. Clark, The Gothic Revival, Great Britain, 1962
- Cyclopedia Company, Industrial, descriptive, historical, biographical facts, figures, illustrations, Wellington, N.Z, 1897-1908, Vol.2, Christchurch, 1902
- Roger Dixon & Stefan Muthesius, 'Victorian Architecture', London, 1978
- John Fleming, Hugh Honour and N. Pevsner, Dictionary of Architecture, London, 1980
The Penguin Dictionary of Architecture, Third Edition, Harmondsworth 1980
- B. Fletcher, A History of Architecture on the Comparative Method, London 1948
- Bruce W. Hayward, 'Granite and Marble: a guide to building stones in New Zealand', Geological Society of New Zealand Guidebook, No.8
- Frances Porter (ed.), Historic Buildings of New Zealand: North Island, Auckland, 1979
- G Stamp & C Amery, Victorian Buildings of London 1837 - 1887; An illustrated Guide, London 1980.
This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.
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